There was never really doubt in this contest between the Villanova Wildcats and the Lafayette Leopards. Led by Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson, the Wildcats’ offense exploded for another 100+ point performance, this time in a “home” game at the PPL Center in Allentown. Bridges shot 9-10 from the field and scored 24 points, setting a new career high just three days after scoring his previous high of 23.
All five starters for Villanova scored double digits, accounting for all but 18 of their points. Bridges lead the way with 24 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists, and Brunson followed shortly behind with 22 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists. Omari Spellman continued his impressive start with Villanova basketball, finishing with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Coming off the bench, Donte Divincenzo had a relatively cold night with only 3 points, freshman Collin Gillespie finished with 7 points, and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree shot a perfect 3-3 from the field and finished with 8 points.
The story of the night was Villanova’s shooting. When they made 9 of their first 11 three pointers, you had a feeling it was going to be that kind of night. After about ten minutes, it seemed like they were only going for three-pointers and dunks. They finished shooting 62% from the field, including 53% from beyond the arc, by far their best percentages of the short season so far. They made a remarkable 16 three-pointers, one shy of the school record for made threes that was set back in 2005 against Lehigh.
They diversified the scoring early, with the starters all scoring at least 7 in the first half. Bridges showed off his touch, going 6-6 from the field and sinking all 4 three-pointers he took. Spellman looked like he was on pace for another double-double, with 7 points and 6 rebounds.
When this team feels confident throwing up three-balls, the rest of the game seems to fall naturally for them. They outrebounded the Leopards by 11, grabbed 5 more steals, and assisted on 6 more baskets. Sure, it wasn’t a completely one sided affair for these stats, but it didn’t need to be that kind of game. The three-point game was firing on all cylinders for Villanova, and 9 times out of 10 that means game over.
Tim Delaney subbed into the game with 10 minutes left but was relatively quiet on the stat sheet, accounting for 2 fouls and 1 assist. The bench mob made an appearance with 1:30 left in the game, but sadly did not even attempt a shot.
Despite the 47 point victory (only 3 more than the Oklahoma game - do I bring that game up too much?) turnovers continued to be a problem on offense. The Wildcats committed 14 turnovers, with Spellman committing 4 and the freshman Jermaine Samuels committing 5.
It’s pretty obvious Samuels is still trying to get into the swing of college basketball, playing 12 minutes without scoring a point. While he has looked pretty solid so far on defense, he’s gone 1-11 shooting so far on the season and needs to get his confidence back shooting the ball.
The Cats have a few days off before playing in the opening round of the Battle for Atlantis tournament on Wednesday, November 22nd against Western Kentucky University. The red hot Wildcats face off against the 1-1 Hilltoppers at 2:30 EST, and don’t be surprised when they drop 100+ points again.